Renouncing U.S. Citizenship
In order for an individual to renounce his United States citizenship, he must commit certain acts to lose his citizenship, or he must make either a formal renunciation of his citizenship in front of a diplomatic or foreign consular officer abroad, or a formal written renunciation from within the United States while the United States is at war.
Voluntarily commission of one of the following acts, with the intention to relinquish one’s United States citizenship, will result in the loss of United States citizenship:
- Obtain naturalization in a foreign country when he is over the age of 18;
- Take an oath or make another formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign country when he is over the age of 18;
- Enter or serve in the armed forces of a foreign country if that country is engaged in hostilities with the United States OR if he is serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer;
- Work in the government of a foreign country (or a local government within that country) after attaining the age of eighteen years if he is, or becomes, a national of that foreign country;
- Work in the government of a foreign country (or a local government within that state), after attaining the age of eighteen years, when that employment requires an oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance; or
- Make a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign country, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State; or
- Commit treason against the United States.
If a citizen chooses to renounce his citizenship at an embassy or consulate abroad, there is a $2,350 (non-waivable) fee to complete this process. This can only be done in person, and he will need to sign an oath of renunciation.
A written renunciation from within the United States must be approved by the Attorney General as not contrary to national defense.
It is important to keep in mind that renunciation is almost always a permanent act; it may be possible to prove that one did not voluntarily renounce citizenship at a later date, but it is difficult to prove this. Renouncing one’s citizenship will not help one evade prosecution for any crimes committed in the United States, nor will it necessarily absolve one of tax obligations, so it is advisable to speak to an attorney regarding your reasoning for seeking renunciation before following through with it. It is also important to keep in mind that if one renounces one’s citizenship and does not have citizenship in a foreign country, one will become stateless, i.e. have no nationality. This can cause severe hardship, including but not limited to an inability to travel and difficulty finding a place to live and work.
If you are interested in learning more about the renunciation of United States citizenship, contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 for a consultation with one of our attorneys.